Manulife Investment Management (IM) has expanded its private markets capabilities to Europe following the authorisation of its Irish entity as an Alternative Investment Fund Manager (AIFM).

The authorisation allows Manulife IM Ireland to passport and sell private markets funds to professional investors across the European Economic Area.

Manulife IM, which manages over €98bn in private markets assets globally, services private equity and credit, real estate, infrastructure, timberland, and agriculture sectors as well as institutional and HNW clients.

Manulife IM president & CEO Paul Lorentz said: “Achieving this license is a critical milestone to further extend the reach of our global private markets business and is a strategic opportunity for European investors seeking access to the diversification and the potential benefits of private asset exposures.”

According to ESMA, the European AIF segment is around €5.8 trillion or 40% of the total EU fund industry.

Manulife IM US and Europe head of wealth and asset management Andrew Arnott remarked that the AIFM authorisation further demonstrates the firm’s commitment to expanding investment options for clients in the region in a market where demand continues to grow.

The company said it will offer private markets capabilities across Europe with an initial focus on countries such as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

In connection with the expansion of its private markets offering, the company recently appointed Christoph Schumacher as global head of real assets and Alex Catterick as global head of HNW strategy for private markets.

Both Schumacher and Catterick will work with the company’s global team to build strategy and manage the development, launch, and growth of new products designed for investors interested in private assets.